After the 2014 football season, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre and athletic director Rick George sat down for their annual post-season meeting.

In this particular meeting, they both talked about and realized that the Buffaloes needed to change their recruiting structure.

"When I first got here (in December of 2012), I just had Adam Toyama as my recruiting coordinator and we didn't have anybody else," MacIntyre said. "I wanted to get a whole system, and we didn't have the budget for it at the time.

"Rick understood it and was able to raise some money and get it and we put that in place about 18 months ago."

CU is enjoying great momentum in recruiting this year, and there's no question that the energy of the staff and the presence of brand new facilities are playing a role. But, the real key, MacIntyre said, is the change he and George made a year and a half ago.

Toyama is still on board as the director of recruiting, but the Buffs now have five other people doing behind the scenes work in evaluating and recruiting high school and junior college players. That ground work has made life easier for MacIntyre and the assistants, who travel around the country meeting with recruits.

"I knew the SEC had been doing it for a while, and that's what I wanted to do," MacIntyre said. "It's the only way you can do it now. You can't do it the other way; you have no chance."


CU knew that having new facilities would be key to attracting recruits, but the Buffs needed to develop relationships with players to get them on campus. As a former recruiting coordinator, George said it was vital for the Buffs to boost their efforts.

"We felt like we needed more staff members in that area to help us with what's going on with social media, being able to assist the full-time coaches in their efforts and I think it's paid off," George said. "We invested in that, because we think it's an invaluable part of our football program."

It certainly paid off in February, when CU had a strong finish to the 2016 recruiting cycle, and it's making a difference as the Buffs assemble their 2017 class.

CU already has 14 players committed for the 2017 class, including quarterback Tyler Lytle, four-star receivers Jaylon Jackson and Laviska Shenault and two of the top in-state players in Dante Sparaco and Jonathan Van Diest of Cherry Creek.

Assistants, such as Darrin Chiaverini, Jim Leavitt, Klayton Adams and Charles Clark, have been essential to the process, as well. They've been active on social media and energetic throughout the recruiting process.

Overall, CU has developed a coaching staff of quality recruiters that have been able to land several top players.

MacIntyre gives his assistants plenty of credit for CU's momentum, but said the foundation set last year is making the biggest difference.

"It's the fruition of the whole process that we put in 18 months ago," he said. "Those individual coaches have been able to have more success because of the system we have in, and we'll keep having that.

"Personally, I've been able to talk to a lot more kids earlier, and I have made a lot more relationships with a lot of the kids that have committed because we were way ahead of being able to evaluate them and do all those types of things, which makes a gigantic difference."

MacIntyre and the Buffs are hopeful that this will be a turning point season on the field. Combine that with the momentum in recruiting, and there's a belief that the tide is turning in Boulder.

"(Recruits) see our program has improved and they're all seeing themselves as this team is going to win, and then ... we can just come in and it's already running," MacIntyre said. "The car is running; just hop in and here we go."

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.